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New Left Review I/11, September-October 1961

Victor Kiernan

Century of Revolution

The Century of Revolution 1603—1714, by Christopher Hill: Nelson, 1961. 25s.

the volume is the fifth in a series by different experts on English history, and wears the modest guise of a book for sixth forms and first-year college classes. As such it needs scarcely anything to make it perfect, except intelligence and curiosity among readers in these walks of life. The type is large and clear. There is a set of excellent illustrations, and a helpful classified reading-list. A good deal of humour, and a strong sense of the dramatic in history, blow away any dry-as-dust flavour that may hang about the notion of a text-book. But a survey of the whole 17th century (of his 17th century, it is a temptation to say) by Christopher Hill is bound to be a good deal more than even an ideal book for the classroom. It will come still more as a blessing to the general reader interested in knowing how modern England, with all its oddities good and bad, has evolved. No scholar could have written a more lucid or penetrating study of this crowded and chaotic epoch.

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Victor Kiernan, ‘Century of Revolution’, NLR I/11: £3

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